Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - THINFACE (Thin-film Hybrid Interfaces: a training initiative for the design of next-generation energy devices)

Thin-film Hybrid Interfaces: a training initiative for the design of next-generation energy devices, THINFACE, (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN, Grant no. 607232) ended on October 31st, 2017. THINFACE was established in order to train and educate young researchers within the area of hybrid thin-film interfaces for sustainable energy devices. The training program was based on a combination between state-of-the-art research and industrial development and production processes. The main objectives in THINFACE were to:
• Train and educate young researchers in different fundamental theoretical and experimental aspects of hybrid thin-film interfaces for energy devices
• Train and educate young researchers in market-targeted development of sustainable energy solutions
• Generate a direct feedback-loop between universities and industries to bridge state-of-the-art research in thin-film energy devices with industrial development and production
• Create a multi-disciplinary and intersectoral network which combines scientific excellence at universities with outstanding practical know-how available at industries, hereby generating an easily accessible infrastructure for early stage researchers in Europe
In order to reach these aims, 6 full university partners, 1 research organization, 1 full industry partner, 6 associate industry partners and 1 associate research organization joined forces in the THINFACE project, and hosted together 14 dedicated and ambitious young researchers working on a variety of topics. The key point for the scientific success of THINFACE has been the high degree of interdisciplinary aspects that have benefitted a variety of sustainable energy applications. Three scientific work packages ensured the link between these multidisciplinary aspects, having a focus on the design of organic thin films, optimized interface properties, and from that gaining a deeper understanding of complete devices, including also aspects on lifetime and stability of organic energy devices.
Scientific excellence has been strived for and achieved within the THINFACE project. Research and development efforts have combined disciplines ranging from organic synthesis, quantum mechanical modeling, thin film growth, surface science techniques to device development and modeling, including also long term device testing. The work contributes hugely to the fast growing class of organic and hybrid devices that enter into more and more commercial products such as displays, PV modules, sensors and transistors. It has been demonstrated from these results that THINFACE has been a multisectoral project that has moved the state-of-the-art within several different device technologies. This success is based on the broadness of the multidisciplinarity in THINFACE, as it has been fostering research excellence in fundamental disciplines, as well as pushing innovation together with the high number of industrial partners. Few examples on new THINFACE inventions that have reached beyond state-of-the-art are:
• Development of thin films that improve the stability of flexible solar cells based on hybrid and organic materials. The device stability is a current bottleneck for these technologies and improvements on device stability will be an important aspect in their future commercialization.
• Improved doping of new organic and hybrid thin films that lead to enhanced electrical conductivity, which can be used to improve existing commercial technologies such as OLED screens for cell phones and televisions.
• New methods for tuning the internal structure of organic thin films have been developed, which lead to radically new opto-electronic properties of the films. Organic field effect transistors with one order of magnitude increase in mobility has been achieved, demonstrating their importance in many different device technologies in the future.
A full overview of the scientific achievements obtained in THINFACE is available at the THINFACE website ( THINFACE has so far led to 2 patents, 39 research articles, with additional 14 submitted papers and at least 10 more to be submitted within the first half of 2018. This demonstrates furthermore that THINFACE is a highly productive network.
The training activities that have assisted in competence development of the early stage researchers in THINFACE have been numerous. The activities, for example, include courses across the network partners, industrial training, training on state-of-the-art facilities, and importantly five summer and winter schools on soft skills as well as on various different topical themes within thin-film hybrid interfaces, which have been hosted as a part of the THINFACE network and were open to participation for other Ph.D. and master candidates. Combined, the THINFACE early stage researchers stand after THINFACE with unique opportunities, as they have been trained at the forefront of research in fields that include a high level of innovation aspects, which is relevant for both academic and industrial careers to come.
An important part of the research and training aspects was the exchange of researchers between institutions and industry partners (secondments). This has ensured that the early stage researchers gained knowledge and hands-on experience in complementary fields, including also industrial training aspects. It strengthened the connection between institutions, research organizations and companies, which have led to numerous research outputs, as well as to several new collaborations. In addition, it has provided the early stage researchers with a unique network that will benefit their individual careers in the future.
The THINFACE ESRs are currently using all these training aspects to successfully move forward their individual careers. Five of them have at present finished their Ph.D. degree and the others are expected to follow within the next 6 months. Two of the ESRs already found a job in industry and others will continue with postdoctoral studies following THINFACE.
The long lasting impact of THINFACE is ensured through the outputs and established framework. Most partners have, besides the numerous scientific articles, contributed to the book ‘Devices from Organic and Hybrid Materials’, World Scientific Publishing, which will be published early 2018. The vast amount of outreach activities (72 THINFACE outreach events and 16 THINFACE videos were accomplished) have had an impact on local communities, potential and current students as well as stakeholders from universities, industries and local communities, which have also led to an expansion of the THINFACE network. This has already resulted in the set-up of new joint research and development activities on both national and international level and will leave a strong impact on the future years to come.
THINFACE has indeed been teamwork between competent universities, research organizations and industrial partners, and the great success of THINFACE should be dedicated to all the early stage researchers, that possessed outstanding motivation, engagement and dedication throughout the project.

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